Tag Archives: air quality

Home Environmental Automation Choices

Get a Grip on Technology

Home Environmental Automation Choices

Did you just lock the front door to your house while sitting at your desk three towns over in your office? Is this real life? Technology is full of amazing bells and whistles, isn’t it?

And before we get lost in the wonderment of it all, let’s hold the phone for a moment (we see you sitting there, getting ready to download another app with that smart phone of yours…)

Technology, with regard to being able to control everything in the palm of your hand, is only as beneficial as the proprietary hardware they serve. Everyone wants to take advantage of the plethora of home automation products available today. You know what we’re talking about:

  • Video doorbells
  • Wi-Fi garage openers
  • Cameras
  • Entertainment controls
  • Water leak detectors
  • Security monitoring
  • Remote locking technology
  • And, of course, remote thermostat control

There are more, but we’ll spare you any further sprawling text to read. You understand what we’re getting at here. Before you get wrapped up in downloading all the latest and greatest apps on your phone that control x y and z, take a breath. Think ahead. Consider a plan.

Ponder for a moment on what your priorities are and make sure the products you purchase are compatible. Just because you saw Ellen using it on her show doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to work in the context of what you yourself have. From the perspective of the heating and cooling environment of your property, consider the following:

  • Do you support the Google/Nest platform, or Amazon/Alexa?
  • What products do you already have in your home?
  • What do you plan to purchase in the near future?
  • Will the platform you choose integrate with all the products in your home?
  • What are you willing to compromise?

We repeat: Think about it.  Put a plan together. Should your home automation plan be centered around a thermostat?  Perhaps. After all, what good is a dwelling if it’s not environmentally comfortable at the outset?

Is the platform you chose open? Does it limit your options?  For instance, Google/Nest is a proprietary platform which would/could potentially interfere or limit the communicable efforts of other technologies interspersed around the residence/workplace. It’s not the end of the world, but in this, “on demand” culture we exist in currently, it’s easy to get lost in just reaching out and grabbing the “latest and greatest.” Why not pause for a moment, do some due-diligence, and formulate an all-encompassing environment that achieves maximum comfort from your HVAC system to your doorbell. It takes a minute, but in the end, you’ll be saving yourself time and potential tech-driven headaches.

As always, we’re here to help you troubleshoot any problems and/or questions you may have regarding your heading and cooling environment. For all else, stick with the Geek Squad…

If you need anything regarding your heating system during these frigid months, Suburban Companies is here for you 24/7/365. Take Comfort.

 

Upgrade Antiquated HVAC Systems; Maximize Efficiency and Comfort

Planning on purchasing an old home and doing major renovations in the New Year? Let us be the first to extend our congratulations! Renovating a home is major accomplishment in a person’s life as it is symbolic of all the hard work it’s taken to get to this point. At the core of this decision is the notion that purchasing and renovating a home is a serious investment – one of the largest you’ll ever make. You’re undoubtedly putting endless hours into what the cosmetic appearance of your home will be. You’re thinking about landscaping and how your home appears from the road. You’re thinking about the refrigerator, sinks, showers, baths, floors, fixtures, all of the fun stuff that goes into customizing your home, making it yours and assuring comfort is achieved.

The question we’d like to pose is, what are you doing to take control of your home’s heating and cooling environment? It’s the first thing people think of. In fact, in some people’s eyes the fridge is more important than the fire that’ll keep you warm when winter strikes. Cosmetics are important, but it’s what’s “inside” that counts. True comfort is achieved in the environment of the air that surrounds you, not the species of wood that makes up the cool rustic grains in your floor.

Here’s an idea, Suburban Companies is happy to send out one of our qualified Comfort Advisors. We’d be happy to come out and consult you on the options that are at your disposal to heat and cool your home and get that existing, antiquated heating and cooling system of to modern day standards (and heck, even exceed those “standards”). The technology to achieve both has never been greater and the cost-savings benefits are mighty handy when you’re looking at your overall budget.

Did you know that as someone updating old heating and cooling elements and appliances within your home in Massachusetts you can take advantage of a program called Mass Saves? As a Massachusetts resident/taxpayer, you’re paying for the benefit, so you might as well utilize it if and where you can. Let’s get you caught up…

What to expect from the typical Mass Save Energy Audit:

  • The consultation usually takes 1.5 to 2.5 hours.
  • You (as well as any other “decision makers” of the property being evaluated should be present at the assessment.
  • We will help you develop an energy savings plan and explain applicable incentives.
  • You will receive a personalized report outlining recommended energy efficiencies for the property.
  • Installation of no-cost immediate savings measures such as light emitting diode (LED) light bulbs, programmable thermostats, and water saving devices, as needed.
  • Screening for eligibility for the ENERGY STAR® refrigerator rebate.
  • Air sealing and insulation specification.
  • Infrared testing, if applicable.
  • Combustion safety testing.

What exactly are these rebates we speak of?

There are many. We at Suburban are happy to talk you through them, and we’ll even do our part to help you leverage them when you work with us to initiate your home or business heating and cooling needs. We are the proud recipients of Carrier President’s Award for Excellence (six times!), and yield at nothing to make sure your heating and cooling system installation and maintenance is, quite simply, working for you. And, we’re also in the business of making sure the Mass Save program is working for you simultaneously.

Here are a few immediate rebates of interest:

  • Earn 75% (up to $2,000) toward the installation of approved insulation improvements.
  • Up to a $500 rebate on a qualified electric mini-split heat pump system.
  • Up to a $750 rebate on electric heat pump water heaters.
  • Up to a $500 rebate for residential electric customers that install a qualified high-efficiency central air conditioning system and/or a central heat pump.
  • Up to a $100 rebate for wireless enabled thermostats and up to $25 for programmable thermostats.
  • Up to a $1,200 rebate for the installation of heating and water heating equipment (oil or propane).
  • Up to a $1,600 rebate for the installation of heating and water heating equipment (gas).

Some of this can be confusing which is why it’s in your best interest to have Suburban walk you through each step to maximize your perspective rebate(s). That, and in general, we’re in the business of keeping all of our customers as comfortable as we can in their residence and we take great pride in the service and products we provide. For a major home renovations and energy upgrades, we love educating you on all of the options available to you to take advantage of from the perspective of your heating and cooling system, and we might even enlighten you to a possibility you hadn’t even thought about.

It’s a New Year; you’re planning new home renovations for you and your family… We’re excited for you, and would be delighted to help you make some key decisions under the umbrella of this massive decision – An investment in time, money, and memories. Call Suburban today and Take Comfort. We’ll keep you warm when it’s cool, and cool when it’s warm – here for you 24/7/365.

Optimizing the Cool: Accenting Your HVAC Equipment During the Hot Summer Months

You know by now that Suburban Companies is in the business of comfort and making sure that our customers’ home and business environment is at an optimal degree. (See what we did there?)

Since we’re smack dab in the middle of summer, we’re going to focus on cooling for a moment. Keeping cool is essential during these long, sunshiny days, and there are ways to further exploit cooler temperatures indoors that help maximize the work that your HVAC unit is doing.

You ready?

Here we go:

Keep the shades drawn

Yeah, we know, it’s nice out, we like to look around at all the lush green grass and vegetation (flowers) that are coming to life and adding a whole bunch of natural beauty to the landscape outside our windows. And while we’re not trying to suggest you shouldn’t take in those sights, we are here to tell you that keeping the blinds/curtains pulled back is heating up the interior of your home or office. We all know that when we’re outside and looking to shave off a degree or two of oppressive heat hitting us from the sun, we seek shade. The same sentiment is true indoors. Creating shade by drawing the, well, shades, is going to drop the internal temperature naturally.

Check the location of your thermostat

If you had your system installed by one of our certified and trusted professionals, you need not worry about this one, but, reality is, this is not the case with everyone reading this… (but hey, contact us if you need information on a new system or need to schedule routine maintenance/service).

Make sure your thermostat isn’t located directly next to a window. Why? Well, quite simply, if you don’t have those (aforementioned) shades drawn (or even if you do), the heat that permeates from your window is going to trigger a warmer response within the operative makeup of your thermostat and “tell it” to turn on and cool things down. Your house may not actually be as warm as what is being read by your thermostat if it’s directly next to the window. Pick a wall that’s at a more centralized position within the room. It’ll make a big difference.

Don’t toss the fan

Listen, we know you’re excited. You’ve got an HVAC system that’s slated to cool the whole house and/or office. And, for all intents and purposes, it will. Some of us get so excited that we ditch the fan (or, let’s be honest, fans – plural) for good. “What do I need it for?” Hey, we get it. It seems like a useless appliance. But that fan, be it a window fan, an standing oscillating unit, or a ceiling fan, can actually accentuate the work your HVAC is doing. If you’ve got a fan circulating on low, it’s going to make the environment around you feel a solid 10 degrees cooler, and, to be completely transparent, a fan uses about 10% of the energy an HVAC unit is going to use. So don’t treat the fan like an inferior part of the family – let it do its thing. The benefits are vast.

The lower the temp, the higher the price

Again, we know you’re excited. So are we. We love installing a new HVAC system for a customer and seeing the look on their face when the initial “fire up” phase kicks in and their home or office is all of a sudden the most comfortable place on earth. We know the feeling. We thrive off of that feeling and reaction. As we mentioned at the start, we take great pride in delivering ultimate comfort. Here’s the skinny, don’t just set the thing on arctic temperatures and assume your going to save a trunkful of cash. There’s saving to be had, for sure, but listen, the lower you set the thermostat the more it’s going to cost you. Keep that in mind. We’re not telling you you shouldn’t, we’re just merely stating that you’ll save more the higher you get up the ticker on the thermostat (when it comes to cooling – heating is an entirely different subject).

In short: set your thermostat to the highest temperature you can stand in the summer months to keep the most coin in your wallet. You can save around 10% (we know, we keep dropping the 10-figure everywhere in this thing…) a year by setting your thermostat 10-15 degrees higher for approximately 8 hours each day. If you’ve got a smart thermostat, you can automatically adjust the temperature of your home or office depending on what time of day it is and how much use a space gets as it pertains to those specific times. Keep that in mind. And if you’re interested in learning more about different thermostats that are available, here’s some light reading material for you.

We’re here when you need us. And if we don’t hear from you, stay cool and take comfort this summer!

For Your Consideration: Equipment Features to Mull Over While Installing New HVAC Equipment

New Equipment

Are you in the process (or research phase) of taking better control of your heating and cooling environment? It’s a big investment, and one not to be taken lightly. You need to think long and hard about what your looking to achieve, and how to best combat pains you may face in your day-to-day quest of finding comfort in your home or office.

The basic understanding/thought process is this – when you’re cold, you want to find warmth, and when you’re hot, you’re striving to find some cool relief. There are of course other variables in the middle, like, for instance, pulling humidity out of the air that leaves you feeling sticky, and, in some cases warmer than you ought to be feeling.

The purpose of this article is to discuss different features that you may not have wrapped your mind around just yet. We aim to inform, so please, if you are in the market for new equipment, consider the following:

  • Humidifiers

A lot is said about dehumidifiers. We’re in New England, so humidity is a real struggle – especially in the summertime. What we don’t tend to think of, which is an easy addition to your heating and cooling system is the need to humidify the air during the winter months. Depending on how you heat your home, there’s a very good chance that the frigid winter air is taking all the humidity right out of the walls. The problem with constantly breathing in dry air, is it can cause respiratory problems and increased allergy symptoms. Dry air can also make the air temperature in your home or office feel cooler than humidified air, which may cause you to reach for the thermostat and jack it up a bit higher – which isn’t an ideal situation to be in. So think about the air in your home, and just how much control you’d like to have. Humidifying the air, is, at times, just as important as pulling out some of that sticky air that we experience in the summertime. On average a properly humidified home will allow you to drop the temperature of a given space by two degrees. When air contacts your skin with the proper humidity, you also “feel” warmer. In addition temperature variation within the home will vary less and your overall “comfort” will be significantly better.

  • Variable Speed Air Handlers and Compressors

Quite simply, the air handler portion of an HVAC system is a device that circulates conditioned air throughout your home or office. The compressor is the outside component that does the “work” to actually heat or cool your home. In typical heating and cooling unites the air handler is either on or off. There’s no “control.” A variable speed blower is the solution to that, working to gradually distribute hot or cold air as is needed throughout the space, rather than just blowing it all out on full-speed with no real “intelligence” to speak of. By choosing a variable speed blower you’re HVAC system is working at a much more efficient and optimal level because it operates on a more proactive level rather than reactive – automatically switching “gears” from low to high speeds, depending on how much “attention” is needed. HVAC systems with variable speed blowers and “communicating controls” supplement the heating and cooling loss of your home in real time – only adding the amount necessary based on the changes in outside temperature. This avoids large temperature variations and the on/off nature of conventional HVAC systems. The Carrier Infinity is a good example of this type of system.

  • Programmable Thermostats and Communicating Controls

When it comes to programmable thermostats, there are several options at play. We’ve outlined a few options in this feature. In short, programmable thermostats enable the user (you) to take control of the environment around you in a optimal way. Are you out of the house during certain hours? Do different hours of the day mean different things to you in terms of how environmental comfort is perceived and/or achieved? Of course. But many of us don’t think the most efficient results out of our heating and cooling systems. Thus, programmable thermostats help us achieve just that. Some of them even have options put management capabilities in the literal palm of your hand (you can control your system from you phone or other applicable handheld devices). Weigh the options if you’re looking to keep things lean, mean, and firing optimally.

Communicating Controls are alternatives to programmable thermostats. A programmable thermostat is a simple switch to the HVAC system – “on” or “off.” This is adequate for single stage equipment. Unfortunately, with variable speed modulating equipment this leaves the hard work up to the system to “guess” what speed to operate in based on assumptions that are mostly inaccurate. These systems should be matched with the manufacturers communicating control.

Unfortunately this will limit the choice of the consumer to the control from the manufacturer, however most of these devices far exceed the benefits and have all of the features of other “well known” thermostat manufacturers. A Communicating Control “talks” directly to each component of the system (variable-speed fans, variable speed compressor and modulating gas valve in the furnace). This also provides pro-active failure notification due to the constant monitoring of the system.

  • High-Efficiency Air Filters

Sure, being able to adjust the heating and cooling of the air in your home or office is important. We want comfort, and, in this day-and-age, we want it on demand. You know what’s equally important that we don’t automatically consider? What’s actually in the air that we’re breathing… Seriously. Being warm or being cool is something that we can feel in the moment, but what’s going on that we can’t see or feel? What are we taking into our lungs that may be a detriment to our health over the long haul? That’s why you should be considering a high-efficiency air filter. Because clean air is healthy air and healthy air leads to a healthier you.

There are many ways you can take greater control over your surrounding environment. There are many options when it comes to taking optimal comfort. Let’s have a conversation to discuss your exact needs and we can help you realize a solution to your existing issue(s). At Suburban Companies, we’re here when you need us 24/7/365.

Hot and Cold: How Your HVAC System Effects Worker Productivity

How Your HVAC System Effects Worker Productivity

Have you ever stopped and wondered for a moment how the heating and cooling environment in your offices helps shape your bottom line? No? Well, it’s time to look into it.

Consider this:

A recent CareerBuilder study found that 53 percent of employees said they were less productive when working in an office that is too cold, and, on the flipside, 71 percent said they were less productive when working in an office that is too warm. That’s straight from the horse’s mouth!

A study conducted a number of years back by Cornell University suggested that a company with compromised environmental comfort was negatively effecting the cost of labor by as much as 10%.

“The results of our study also suggest raising the temperature to a more comfortable thermal zone saves employers about $2 per worker, per hour,” Cornell professor Alan Hedge said in a news statement when the results were released in October 2004. Hedge teaches design and environmental analysis.

The productivity effects of your organization’s HVAC system need to be taken seriously. There are myriad impacts including (but not limited to):

  • Performance decrease when too hot
  • Performance decrease when too cold
  • Performance decrease when air is polluted and unhealthy (for example: greater sick time/leave)
  • Performance decrease when HVAC environment runs loudly (due in part to lack of maintenance, age of system, etc.)
  • Performance decrease when equipment causes vibrations in building (also due in part to lack of maintenance, age of system, etc.)

In short, when your heating and cooling environment is healthy, your work force is healthy (literally and figuratively). When your work force is healthy, it’s better bet that your business is healthy as well.

For a full report on that study:


Download

The Need for Planned Maintenance

HVAC Maintenance Boston

In the commercial, corporate world, the workplace is ruled by budgets, which are passed down through the ranks. “Budgetary constraints,” “budgetary cuts,” “not in the budget,” “maybe next year,” are all commonly spewed phrases when it comes to the prospect of expenditures at work.

This isn’t a revelation. It’s reality.

That said, when budget planning meetings commence, an area that might be left neglected is an area directly related to the comfort and productivity of an organization, which is to say, it’s time to pay closer attention and make sure that this little operative piece of the business is taken a bit more seriously.

That area of focus, of course, is the property’s heating and cooling environment. You know, the HVAC system. You might find yourself fooling with the thermostat from time-to-time to achieve an ideal (comfortable) temperature. Where do you think that environmental conditioning is coming from?

Why bother doing commercial HVAC maintenance?

It’s a good question. After all, you don’t necessarily see the equipment that’s keeping things comfortable in the workplace, so why does it matter if it continues to get ignored for a few years?

That’s the wrong attitude.

Think of your HVAC environment like a car. Do you change your oil regularly? Do you keep the fluids full (you know, coolant, steering fluid, brake fluid, windshield washer fluid, etc.)? Do you get an annual checkup? Of course you do (the latter is known as an inspection, and if you haven’t been getting one, you’ve likely accumulated a lot of fines…)

HVAC systems are a lot like cars. There’s a lot of moving pieces and parts, and eventually, things wear out. Like the tires on your car. If your tires are bare, you’re putting your vehicle, and yourself in harms way. It’s important to monitor the wear and keep things operating optimally. It’s an important investment. Many of us want our cars to last for as long as they possibly can. Without the aforementioned maintenance, your car may just very well give up prematurely and die on the side of the road. Same with your HVAC system. If you’re maintaining it properly, the typical commercial HVAC system should last you 15 – 20 long years. That’s a lot of comfort. And with comfort comes productivity (more on that here…)

The three man points of interest in keeping a well maintained heating and cooling environment in your commercial property:

Reliability

As mentioned, a lack of maintenance affects downtime and the lifetime of a system. For example, a clogged filter can stop a system from working and cause motors to overheat and prematurely fail. Failure is avoidable. And if you’re in the business of being proactive, you can certainly save a substantial amount on costly repairs keeping that system maintained and as reliable as it possibly can be.

Efficiency (Operating Cost)

The electrical cost of your HVAC system is higher when said system has to work harder. Improper refrigerant charge can cause a system to run longer than necessary. The age-old mantra applies: “work smarter, not harder.” When you install a system, part of the hope is that you’re saving money, and, in most cases, the implementation of a new HVAC system brings with it a 20-40% savings in emissions and cost savings. So, why not keep that good thing going? Optimization is key.

Safety

Typically halfway through the life of a HVAC system (10 years) heat exchangers have to be replaced. It’s not common knowledge, especially if you’re “ignoring” the existence of your heating and cooling environment. A cracked heat exchanger can emit Carbon Monoxide, which is odorless and harmful. A proper yearly visual inspection should be completed. Air quality in general is of great importance if you’re at all concerned with the wellbeing of the people residing under your roof.

At Suburban Companies, we provide you with the best HVAC products on the market – customized with care to ensure you’re getting exactly what you need and none of what you don’t. We’re also are revered in the industry for your “peace-of-mind” service contracts that enable you to put the focus on your business, while we make sure your comfort is at a maximum. There’s a reason we’ve won six consecutive Carrier President’s Awards (one of the highest industry honors), and it’s time for you to take advantage of our expertise and passion. Give us a shout today. When it comes to maintenance and HVAC system optimization – we’re at the head of the class.

Take Advantage of Suburban’s HVAC Modernization, Retrofit, and Optimization Services

HVAC Commercial Modernization

When it comes to your business, you’re likely thinking about the cost of goods needed to facilitate a product. You’re likely thinking about a marketing budget. You’re keeping tabs on employee wages and benefits. You’re staring at your sales sheets on a daily basis. You’re conscientious of the bottom line and of making sure it’s continually on the rise.

One thing you may be forgetting is the health of your and productivity the actual air that is circulating around you every moment of every day. Air quality is huge. It directly effects your bottom line, even if it isn’t a direct line item on your P&L documents. If your HVAC environment is struggling, you’re not only spending more on utility bills, you’re also likely losing productivity from your employees. After all, a happy employee makes for a happier and more sustainable workplace.

What’s the current state of your HVAC system and environment?

You may not know. It’s not always noticeable to any sort of “eye test.”

You might think, “well it’s there, and it heats the room when we need heat, so it’s fine.” That’s the wrong mindset. Like anything, HVAC systems age. There’s no escaping it. With age comes compromised productivity. From compromised productivity comes greater wear and tear on the pieces and parts within the system, and with greater wear and tear come a higher utilization of electricity to power the system.

HVAC systems benefit from maintenance, and further, benefit from upgrades. If you’re looking to make headway on prolonged cost savings, you might want to consider the modernization retrofit of your current HVAC solution. Variable frequency drives and digital controls upgrade the capabilities of older equipment for better performance without large capital investment from you. Retrofitting the ancillary equipment of your HVAC system can certainly be cause of an immediate impact on your bottom line. Modernization of aging HVAC equipment is inherently designed to deliver lower energy costs, as well as minimize mechanical wear and, ultimately extend the life of your equipment.

Have you recently undergone other physical change in the workplace that might require a HVAC professional to assess your actual up-to-date usage needs?

Have any of these pointed operative measures changed:

  • Square footage modifications
  • Hours of operation
  • Additional heating & cooling loads
  • Occupancy levels

If you answered yes to any of these bullets, call us today and we’ll let you know if your HVAC system is being overworked.

Our studies show that most office buildings experience an energy cost is $2–3 per square foot per year. Healthcare properties are one of the most expensive energy consumption environments, usually coming in at around $11 per square foot per year. A typical building can cut its total energy use by up to 15% by implementing low cost measures and over 45% by implementing deeper retrofit measures. Such retrofit projects can reduce operating costs, and improve occupant comfort with a host of other benefits, which we’ll outline below.

Keep in mind, a building doesn’t have to be new to be operatively efficient. Property owners are retrofitting their buildings, and converting them into archetypes of sustainability, which fuels a more fundamentally sound bottom line. While most building owners still follow individual technology improvements, smart owners package energy saving technologies to get serious savings through lower energy consumption and operating costs. In general, improvements are essentially paid for through vast energy savings over time.

How can Suburban’s equipment modernization, retrofit, and optimization services provide value to you?

Let’s put it this way: You’re doing yourself a disservice if you’re overlooking the value contained in the working environment you’ve positioned yourself, your business, and your employees in.

Here’s what a properly modernized and retrofitted HVAC system can do for you:

  • Maximum system efficiency and occupant comfort
  • Increase value of building assets
  • Drive down operative costs and maintenance expenses
  • Extend the life of your equipment
  • Increased comfort leads to increased employee productivity

Controlling the Air Around the Workplace

Controlling the Air Around the Workplace

We’re New Englanders. While that may mean a lot of different things to the many of us residing here, for us at Suburban Companies, the main point of focus is on the challenges associated with maintaining a productive working environment for our extensive pool of commercial clients. Having and maintaining an HVAC system in the workplace in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and all throughout New England is a four-season struggle. We want to warm when it’s cold, and cool when it’s hot. And then there’s the humidity. Let’s not get started with the humidity. It’s true, we really do experience the gamut of weather related instances here in the Northeast. The challenge lies in recognizing issues with your HVAC system that adversely effect productivity in and around the office. If you don’t have a trusted partner like us here at Suburban Companies as a part of your auxiliary “operations” team, you’re already a massive step behind.

The long and short of it is, if the health of the environment around the office is suffering, productivity is suffering.

Here are two issues that can directly effect productivity in your workplace:

Indoor Air Quality

Ask yourself: Have your employees been missing work often? Are there a lot of sniffles, coughs, and sneezes around the office? Does the office feel “stuffy”? Does it smell musty? If you answered yes to any of these thoughts, then the quality of the air in your workplace is a likely subpar. And subpar air quality equals subpar productivity, no? Poor indoor air quality can be the result of poor filtration within the HVAC system, lack of routine maintenance, insufficient ventilation, and other applicable issues such as insulation, ductwork, etc.

Poor indoor air quality is not a matter to take lightly. Symptoms amongst the workforce may include:

  • Headaches
  • Runny noses
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Full-blown illness.

You know what it’s like to try to get anything accomplished with even the slightest of headaches. Such an ailment will inherently minimize overall productivity. Poor indoor air quality is even worse for those who suffer from conditions like allergies or asthma. Keep this in mind, and, if you’re unsure, we can assess your work environment and shed some light on the situation.

Temperature

This sort of falls in line with the air quality section as it can lend itself to poor health (amongst workers and the business itself). While the temperature of the workplace may not necessarily represent an actual problem with your HVAC system, paying too little attention to the temperature in your office may reduce productivity. It can also add stress to the bottom line if inefficient systems are in place to monitor utility consumption. Fast Company reported that a workplace that is too cold can cause workers to commit around 44 percent more errors than what is found in an ideal temperature range (70 degrees Fahrenheit). In addition, cold temperatures contribute to the adverse reduction their general productivity by about 50 percent.

What we’re getting at here, is the benefit of having a properly operating HVAC system that can be controlled remotely / digitally (LINK TO THERMOSTAT FEATURE) and can also condition the air while providing the idea temperature (and keeping it there). By having routine maintenance on the books, you’re assuring that your system, and hence, environment is at an optimal level, which in turn, increases productivity, and bolsters the bottom line.

For more questions regarding improving HVAC performance, contact Suburban Companies today and Take Comfort.

New Year, New Resolutions for Your HVAC Environment

HVAC New Year Resolution

As 2016 came to a close and the focus becomes sharper on 2017, we all make it a point to make personal “resolutions” for the year that’s ahead of us. How about thinking from the perspective of your home or business HVAC system? If that heating and cooling system of yours could hold a conversation with you, you might be surprised with what it might tell you.

Being an HVAC system in Massachusetts, or heck, New England, is no easy task. Enduring sweltering summers and the perilously frigid winters, HVAC systems put up with a lot to make sure ultimate comfort is served to the homeowner they’re providing an ideal environment for. Hot, cold, hot, cold, hot, cold… They’re fighting through the extremes of the extremes. And, well, they don’t complain. Treat ‘em right. It benefits both sides…

New Year’s Resolutions for your HVAC System:

Upgrade and/or change your air filters frequently.

Seriously. We’ve been talking about filters for a while now, but, in all honesty, it’s the root of many potential issues. Filters are important for many things in life, and adding your HVAC environment to the list of things filters are needed for makes sense. Filters not only help clean the air you’re breathing, they also keep the working components of your HVAC system in proper operational order by keeping harmful elements out. It’s a two-way street. Filters keep your HVAC system healthy, while also keeping you healthy. Think filters. They’re easy, affordable, and are often overlooked.

Consider implementing a programmable thermostat.

A programmable thermostat enables ease of management when it comes to your heating and cooling environment and when/how to properly adjust the settings of your HVAC system to attain maximum comfort. The truth is, the constant finagling of a regular general thermostat isn’t a very efficient means of “staying on top” of the overall temperature and feel of your surrounding environment. A programmable thermostat, for all intents and purposes allows you to “set it and forget it.” Some even offer management controls accessible from any handheld device (smartphone, tablet, computer, etc.).

The long and short of it is this: When you opt for a programmable thermostat, you’ll wind up saving money, conserving energy, and minimizing headaches by knowing that your system will be operating at peak performance. Essentially, you gain the ability to take full control of your environment – and that equals the highest level of comfort, which we’re all looking for.

Learn the repair warning signs.

We’re going to keep this one simple, because honestly, if you have a trusted HVAC service contractor on your side, you should be able to minimize the need to worry about this subject. But, in any event, here are three basic signs that should prompt you to take action…

  1. You’ve noticed a curious rise in your utility bills. If they’re going up, you’re subject to either rising utility costs, or an HVAC system that isn’t performing at an optimal level.
  2. Deteriorating air quality or airflow. This isn’t something that’s necessarily easy to diagnose, but if you notice things getting dustier than normal, and/or you’re experiencing dry, unexplainable coughs, it may be due to poor air quality or airflow. Once you’ve subjected yourself to the addition of an HVAC environment in your home or business, you’ll become familiar with how the air feels. If that quality feels “off,” or, if the heating or cooling of your indoor space seems uneven, there’s an issue somewhere in the delivery. It may be time to call in a professional.
  3. Age gets to us all. Even our appliances. Keep note of how old your HVAC system is. The average lifespan of an HVAC system is 15-20 years. If you have a maintenance plan in place with a service contractor like us here at Suburban, you’re helping yourself get the most life possible out of that system.

Schedule routine maintenance.

This is really the best thing you can do for your home or company’s HVAC system. By scheduling annual maintenance with a trusted certified HVAC professional, you’re making sure your HVAC system is up to snuff, and can focus on the other things around you that matter most.

If you’re heating and cooling system is routinely maintained, it’s going to operate at the highest efficiency for your living environment possible. Optimizing the performance of your system, as well as your own personal environmental comfort, as well as the comfort of your wallet. It really is that simple.

We’d be grateful if you allowed Suburban Companies to be your HVAC service contractor. We service Massachusetts, and the greater Boston area, southern New Hampshire, and beyond. Contact us today to set up a free consultation, or to schedule maintenance.

Take comfort in the new year!

Think Filters

HVAC Filters Maintenance

Let’s talk about filters for a second.

We’re not talking about the filters you’re utilizing when snapping photos on your phone (to make the photos look better). No, we’re talking about filters that could potentially cause inopportune effects if not given the proper attention.

If you have an HVAC system installed in your home, chances are there are filters in one or more places of your home that are catching dust, debris, and other unwanted particles that circulate in your home’s air.

Okay, sure. So what does this mean?

clean-dirty-hvac-filtersWell, they, like other filters, they need to be periodically replaced. Have you ever looked at the air filter in your car? Maybe not.

Perhaps you enlist your mechanic to swap that out for you on an annual basis. What about the filter in your dryer? You know, the one you scoop dust and lint out of very regularly. If you’re not, your clothes aren’t drying very well, and your taxing the investment you made in that very appliance.

Like other filters, the one(s) that exist in your heating and cooling system need attention. They need to be replaced at least once a year, maybe more depending on your home’s environment. For instance if you have a lot of pets. It’s easy to overlook. We understand. We’re all busy. So, if you’re scheduling regular maintenance for your system, ask your contractor to help you out with the filters (if they aren’t already). By the way, if you have a washable filter, consider upgrading it to a real filter. Washable filters do not catch the fine particles to actually clean your air.

At the end the day the benefits of addressing your home’s air filter are vast – and the cost associated with this preventative/proactive measure are quite minimal.

Here a few things you can expect when you’re doing the due-diligence:

  • Save Money: When you’re optimizing your system’s health by periodically cleaning/replacing the filter you’re enabling the system to run more efficiently and not taxing the inner working of the appliance because it’s working through prospective blockage, and/or its inability to read the temperature properly in the home. When things are running at an optimal rate, you spend less on electricity and maintenance bills. Keep the cash in your account.
  • Maintain Better Health: When you’re air is clean, you’re lungs are clean. When your lungs are clean, you breathe better. When you breathe better, your entire body benefits from greater health because you’re not taking in air toxins and unhealthy bacteria floating around in the air. And, if we can harken back to the first bullet, you’ll save money. Better health equals less healthcare expenses.
  • Greater System Performance / Longevity: You don’t run your care with the same oil and filter in it for the entirety of its life. That is unless you’re replacing your car annually. When you’re conscious and proactive of “the little things” your investments will treat you better, and, once again, you’ll wind up saving money. Optimization is the best solution.

replace-hvac-filtersNo matter how you look at it, by proactively maintaining and swapping out your HVAC system’s air filter, you can cut your total energy costs by as much as 15% (according to www.energy.gov). In the long run, that can make a huge difference.

For all of your residential and commercial HVAC needs, contact us at Suburban HVAC. Take Comfort: We’ll answer any questions you might have and assist you in any way that we can.